Descending from the Summit: Final Thoughts on Timpanogos.

While sitting on the top of the mountain I felt alive and accomplished, I had made it to the top and nothing had stopped me. I had worked through doubt, tired muscles, and a small bit of pain but I was her and nothing else mattered. We spent around 15 minutes on the summit before we began our journey back to the car. As many know the ascent is only half the journey, you have to make it back to the car and back home. So we began heading back down the mountain talking about the epic meal we were going to eat once we arrived back home. 

As we walked we passed people who were on their way up, they looked tired, with doubt in the eyes of some and a fire in the eyes of others. Had I looked that way? Could you see my discomfort on my face just an hour before as I trudged my way up to the summit? I believe so, because that was a challenge for me to complete. Yet, I had made it and now was on my way down so I was in better spirits trying to send encouragement and a smile to those going up because I felt that anyone could summit at this point. 

What is always interesting to me about any descent is how often I seem to slip or stumble. Sometimes it’s because my tired feet don’t move as they ought to be and other times I just don’t choose the best place to step. On the way down my friend and I both stumbled and slid about because the trail down seemed a bit more slippery than the trail on the way up. I have hope that others besides me experience this a little here and there. I also think that it makes the journey back to the car a bit more enjoyable or unpredictable for tired bodies and minds. 

Our dogs did extremely well on this hike, they kept going and never failed to find fun along the trail. They helped us to laugh when we needed it, and made friends all along the way with other hikers. Time spent outdoors is only enhanced by dogs and their personalities to me, ever since my dog started joining me on hikes my outdoor adventures have been more light hearted and cheerful despite the struggles. 

As you may have already guessed we made it back to the car in good spirits and grateful we had spent a few hours in the wilderness on a grand adventure. Our dogs too felt the relief when they climbed into the backseat and were sleeping in a few short minutes.

I learned that day that even if I am not always prepared to accomplish a task that I still have the ability to do that task in my own way and find success in doing so. We were not the fastest along our journey but we still made it to the summit and back to the car in good time. If you are not sure what you can accomplish pick a goal that stretches you a little outside of your comfort zone and go for it. Find your Timpanogos and summit it. 

Summiting Timp: First thought to first steps.

My friend messaged me asking what my plan was for Monday because it had been far too long since we had been on an adventure. I looked at the day ahead and having nothing on the calendar besides time with my dog and dinner with my wife after she was finished at work I gladly accepted the invitation to get out on an adventure and start the week out right. 

We talked through a couple of ideas such as hiking with our dofs to the granddaddy lakes region in the High Uintas, heading to the summit of Ben Lomond Peak, or hiking around the Mount Timpanogos Wilderness and possibly summiting the peak. We settled on hiking Timpanogos as it was the closest option and the least amount of driving, agreeing to meet at 6:30 am the following morning and set out for a day of hiking, beautiful views and conversation. 

Although I was looking forward to the day ahead I was uncertain about my ability to gracefully climb the 4,390 feet to the summit as I have not been as active this year as I have been in past years. I have summited this mountain twice before and both times I was in better shape physically and probably a little more mentally strong as far as hiking in high elevations goes. I committed myself to a day of fun on the mountain and accepted that there would be a struggle as I went but one that I needed and looked forward to. 

As I prepared myself the next morning for the climb I casually stashed 4 liters of water for my dog and I along with two energy bars for me and variety of snacks and food for my four legged friend. My thought was to pack for a climb that could be classified as light and fast but still carry the needed gear in case of unexpected weather I added a waterproof windbreaker and a merino wool sweater for just in case. 

My friend arrived shortly before 6:30 am and our adventure of the day began as two climbers and their adventure pups were bound for the wilderness and possibly summit of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch range. 

Part 1 of 4

Cooking.

Netflix has opened a world of easy access to cooking inspiration combined with the wanderlust we all crave. I recently started a new cooking series called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat where the very first episode you are welcomed into olive orchards, peoples farms and homes then walked through the process of constructing mouth-watering delights. Not only are you watching masters at work preparing food you are hearing the host speak Italian and traversing through cities with locals.

It’s a real inspiration to travel looking for more opportunities to explore local foods, cook local cuisine, and interact with the people in a more personal manner. Often we spend so much time speeding through checklists of famous landmarks that we hope to see that we fail to connect with the place and people we are surrounded by. From my own personal travel experiences, I can say that too often I fail to follow the footsteps on my travel heroes. I fail to take a moment to squeeze out the real local vibes and too much time squeezing out the travel checklist and Instagram worthy captures.

More of us could benefit from looking around the places we travel as if we were locals. Interacting more organically with others might allow us to make new friends and see more unique sights others may not see because they are following a well-paved path. I’ve learned that there are the little things you miss out on if you are going too many places too fast as you hurry from one destination to the next. I recommend when you visit a place that you find a place or two to converse with the locals, see where they go, see the places they think are beautiful, and where they eat most, then go and see those places.

Just like all the different travel/cooking films you can find on Netflix or other streaming services take your time and experience the moments, conversations, and sights one day at a time, with eyes looking to experience a place as a local might.